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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Chili Month

If you were here with me you would have seen a mix of percipitaton. Everything from rain, sleet, and snow was seen float down from the clouds today. Not to far away there were places that got more snow than they wanted. It is in these cold weather days that my mother would come up witn a large pan of chili. 

It is not only our family that loves chili in the cold weather. Others must love it as well as February honors the dish on the fourth Thursday. Chili and Chili Con Carne are both honored. It seems that there may be as many ways to make chili as there are to eat it. Chili comes from Spanish source. Chili refers to the "chili pepper" and carne means "meat" 

The source of the first pot of chili is not known. I would say that it arrived from someone throwing together a few ingredients that they thought would taste great and please the bunch of hungry eaters. My suspicion is that they mixed up some chili peppers with meat and cooked them together. That was the start of the great chili war where a number of recipes would come from. 

Joe DeFrates (a past winner of the National and the World Chili Championships) reminds us that "chili powder makes one go crazy" The great debate of which chili is better is a war with many battles. The trail of chili and the war can be traced back to the cattle drives Travel through Texas, New Mexico and California will find the battle lines of chili and who's is the best. 

It has been determined that the mixture of meat, beans, peppers and herbs has been around far back as the Incas, Aztecs and Mayan civilizations. The green chili pepper entered what is now New Mexico around 1600 and still grows there. Islanders from the Canary Islanders brought to San Antonio around 1723 the combination of wild onions, peppers, and spices to create pungent dishes. 

It was the cattle drivers and trail hands that popularized the dish. The Southwest holds many stories of how the range cooks made chili along the trails of the cattle drive. Collecting wild oregano, chili peppers, wild garlic and onions and mixed it with fresh killed buffalo or beef (if not available they would use jackrabbit, armadillo, rattlesnake or whatever they could get their hand on) There were trail cooks who would plant gardens along the way so that the cowhands would keep filled up with the dishes they would prepare. 

The Texas town folks would hear the stories of how to prepare the delicious chili and began to want their own. One tail is that Frank and Jesse James would eat a few bowls of the chili before pulling any bank robberies. There are many stories out there that carry the trails of the chili path how it started and the stories that followed. Chili cooks share stories like the fish stories that fishermen have. 

Chili is made up of tomatoes, beans, chili peppers, meat , garlic, onions, and cumin. As I stated we have no idea where the first bowl was made or served. There are many variations of this delicious dish out there. That is why chili is the perfect dish for cook-offs. The love of chili arrived early in America and especially in Texas where chili con carne is the states food. 

Celebrate your love of chili by making up any of these loved dishes

  • Chili dogs
  • Chili burgers
  • Chili cheese fries
  • Chili stuffed baked potatoes
  • “Frito pie”chili spaghetti
  • Chili mac
  • Chili rice
Check out a number of great recipes shared here on annies home

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